The City of Puerto Princesa (lit. City of Princess Port, Filipino: Lungsod ng Puerto Princesa) is a city located on the western provincial island of Palawan, one of 80 provinces which make up the Philippines. Though the provincial seat of government for Palawan, the city itself is one of 38 independent cities within the Philippines not controlled by the province in which it is geographically located and is therefore an independent area located within Palawan.
As of 2007, Puerto Princesa had a population of 210,508 people making it the most sparsely populated city in the Philippines. In terms of land area, the city is the second largest geographically after Davao City with an area of 919 mi² (2,381 km²).
Folk etymology attributes the name “Puerto Princesa” to a princess-like maiden who in the early days is said to have roamed around the place on certain nights of the year. On the other hand, practical people attribute the name to the geographical advantages of the place as a seaport – naturally protected the whole year round and endowed with a depth that can accommodate any size of shipping – a royal haven for vessels or a virtual princess of ports as thus indicated by Spanish Colonizers on the country’s map.
Historically, the place was named after Princess Asunción, born in 1864 to Queen Isabella II and her consort, Francisco de Cádiz. When the princess suffered an untimely death, the Queen changed the name to Puerto de la Princesa. Eventually, the name was reduced to Puerto Princesa as it is known today.
Spanish Colonizers founded the settlement on 4 March 1872 in the course of their exploration of the province. As they scanned the Palawan shoreline for a capital site, they came upon a hill with steep declivity. Rowing to shore, they surveyed the hill and discovered an extensive plateau which they decided as ideal for settlement.
Soon after, Fr. Antonio Muro levelled a portion of the hill to make way for a chapel. (That section is now occupied by the Catholic Cathedral, the P.C. Barracks and the Rizal Park. The Old Municipal Building used to be there, as well as an Elementary School). The first mass celebrated in Puerto Princesa took place at a site where a marker now stands.
In May 1872, the Port of Puerto Princesa became the center of Spanish Naval Operations in the area because the Bay met all the Navy’s requirements. Royal Decrees later provided incentives to settlers, and by 1883 the settlement had flourished into a town of twelve roads, a hospital and well-built port.
In 1894, Puerto Princesa was recognized by government authorities as one of the most beautiful towns in the country by virtue of the orderly distribution of streets, buildings and houses as well as the cleanliness of the community.
In 1911, the New American Administration made Puerto Princesa the seat of the Palawan Provincial Government with Major John Brown as Lieutenant Governor.
In 1951, the barrios of Tinitian, Caramay, Rizal, Del Pilar, Malcampo, Tumarbong, Taradungan, Ilian, and Capayas were separated to form the town of Roxas.
In 1955, the sitios of Materingen, Tandayag, Nasedoc, and Panlawagan were separated from the barrio of Maroyogon and elevated into a barrio.
In 1956, the sitios of Calagbenguen, Tarabanan, Bendoyan, Talabigan, Tagbuan, and Langogan were constituted into the barrio of Concepcion.
In 1957, the barrio of Tapul was renamed to Salvacion.
The town was converted into a city on 1 January 1970 under R.A. 5906 as amended by P.D. 437, through the effort of then Congressman Ramon V. Mitra, Jr. Feliberto R. Oliveros, Jr. became the first City Mayor.
Since its foundation, Puerto Princesa has been the nerve center of activities in Palawan. Aside from being the seat of public administration, it is the heart of trade, commerce, service, and industry in the province.
Today, under the leadership of Mayor Edward S. Hagedorn, the City has gained the distinction of being a model city – in cleanliness, environmental protection and conservation, and local governance in general.
And so, with a responsive leadership and an inspired citizenry, the tradition of Puerto Princesa being a beautiful and clean city lives on.
Quoted from – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Puerto_Princesa
The best place to go in Puerto Princesa
The Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park (PPSRNP) is one of the most important biodiversity conservation areas of the Philippines. It features a spectacular limestone or karst landscape that contains an 8.2 km long underground river.
A distinguishing feature of the river is that it flows directly into the sea, and the lower half portion of the river is brackish and subject to tidal influence. The area also represents significant habitat for biodiversity conservation. It contains a full mountain to the sea ecosystem and protects forests, which are among the most significant in Asia.
The Puerto Princesa Underground River is reputed to be the longest navigable underground river in the World. It is one of the few such rivers which the public can easily experience and appreciate. It is the official entry of the Philippines and is 1 of the 7 finalists to the Search for the New 7 Wonders of Nature. The watershed area of the river within the park is covered by primary forest which is home to many endemic species of animals and plants. It encompasses an unusual variety of ecosystems, making it high scientific and conservation interest.
Quoted from – http://www.gopalawan.travel/Underground_River_Tour